How to Write Consulting Proposals Like McKinsey (with examples)
A great consulting proposal requires the right content and structure. This post aims to teach you how to get both right.
Sep 25, 2023
Consulting firms like McKinsey, Bain, and BCG are notoriously secretive about both their clients and their slide decks.
Even so, there are a few publicly available McKinsey slides floating around the internet that can be fun to look at and get inspired by. For your convenience, we’ve rounded them up here and divided them into categories, along with short summaries of each deck.
But be warned: Many of the decks are older and for external purposes like presentations for industry conferences or extracts of McKinsey Global Institute reports.
Full list of available presentations:
Industry reports/market overviews:
McKinsey Global Institute reports (McKinsey’s business and economics research arm):
Helping Global Health Partnerships to increase their impact: McKinsey (2009)
54 page pre-read deck for a board meeting during a longer project. Describes project overview, key findings from current phase, as well as next steps. Detailed and systematic walk-through.
Good inspiration for: How to divide a project into relevant phases. Presenting detailed findings for different areas and summarizing these in suggested next steps for each area.
USPS Future Business Model (2010)
39 page deck describing the recent context and base case going forward for USPS, as well as potential change levers and what is required to change course short term.
Good inspiration for: Structuring a coherent strategy document with a clear storyline.
Capturing the full electricity efficiency potential of the U.K. (2012)
61 page main deck + 68 page appendix covering a full analysis and recommendations for becoming more energy efficient. Appears to have been prepared for the UK government. Excellent deck with many good slide designs and the full end-to-end storyline from baseline calculation to potential efficiency measures to barriers to prioritization and recommendations of measures to take.
Good inspiration for: Creating a full report of a project analysis and recommendations based on that analysis. Presenting data in clear slides. Presenting and analyzing potential measures systematically.
Modelling the potential of digitally-enabled processes, transparency and participation in the NHS (2014)
3 page deck + 13 page appendix describing the context, methodology, and outcome of a quantitative model to analyze the net benefits of various technology interventions for the NHS. Also includes an analysis of the net opportunities against the ease of implementation, and ends with a recommendation of the four most impactful actions to take.
Good inspiration for: Structuring and explaining a quantitative model including drivers and expected impact.
Refueling the innovation engine in vaccines (2016)
40 page discussion document for NVAC as part of a longer project. The deck goes over the state of the industry, challenges to innovation and potential solutions, as well as what role NVAC can play.
Good inspiration for: Creating a clear and structured storyline that balances data-heavy slides with verbal/abstract slides.
The changed agenda in the global sourcing industry: perspectives and developments (2009)
35 page dense deck presented at a Global ICT services sourcing conference. Covers the development of the onshore-offshore industry, what it is expected to look like going forward, and the imperatives for management to successfully navigate the future.
Good inspiration for: Creating a complete and comprehensive market picture, as well as framing recommendations.
What Makes Private Sector Partnership Works: some learnings from the field (2011)
12 page deck describing public-private partnerships around agriculture in Africa. The deck identifies where in the value chain there could be partnership possibilities, as well as examples of successful partnerships and what is needed to succeed.
Good inspiration for: Presenting a value chain. Visually representing different partnership models (or other types of models).
The Internet of Things and Big Data: Opportunities for Value Creation (2013)
18 page picture-heavy deck used in an oral presentation around the topic of IoT and big data. The deck first describes IoT’s growth in recent years before moving into how IoT works on a high level and what the possibilities and challenges are.
Good inspiration for: Using quotes to enhance a storyline.
Laying the foundations for a financially sound industry (2013)
17 page deck going over the current financial situation of the global steel industry before briefly touching on the outlook and then discussing possible measures to become more financially stable. Contains a fairly detailed and interesting EBITDA model with different drivers of EBITDA laid out. Presented at a Steel Committee meeting.
Good inspiration for: Creating clear graph slides. Visually representing a quantitative model.
Manufacturing the Future: The Next Era of Global Growth and Innovation (2013)
38 page deck covering the current state of US manufacturing and five disruptive trends that are reshaping the industry.
Good inspiration for: Summarizing trends and relating them to a specific value chain. Many good graphs and ways of presenting data (both quantitative and qualitative) visually.
How unconventionals are changing global oil and gas markets (2013)
36 page deck discussing McKinsey’s expertise within oil and gas, the global situation, and a deep dive into two unconventional forms of oil and gas.
Good inspiration for: Creating succinct summary slides with leading questions.
Insurance trends and growth opportunities for Poland (2015)
25 page deck covering the status of the Polish insurance market and five main trends shaping the market, as well as a case of a different market and how that has changed. Presented in connection with the Polish Insurance Association.
Good inspiration for: Systematically presenting various trends and their expected impact without becoming too monotonous visually.
Challenges in Mining: Scarcity or Opportunity? (2015)
10 page main deck + 30 page appendix describing the current status of mining and how the value chain will potentially change due to new innovations. Presented during World Materials Forum.
Good inspiration for: Presenting a value chain in different ways, as well as which areas of the value chain will change/can be innovated.
Restoring Economic Health to the North Sea (2015)
28 page deck used for an oral presentation about the cost increases in the UK oil industry and potential ways to mitigate these.
Good inspiration for: Creating a simple and clear storyline with a strong narrative arc that works well for a live presentation.
How will Internet of Things, mobile internet, data analytics and cloud transform public services by 2030? (2015)
15 page fairly high-level deck describing IoT and other digital trends and how they will potentially impact various industries and current ways of doing things.
Good inspiration for: Presenting a trend and following with a good example/case study.
Five keys to unlocking growth in marketing’s “new golden age” (2017)
26 page deck going over five main levers to pull in marketing; science, substance, story, speed, and simplicity. Describes each lever in a few slides using mainly images, icons, and other graphics.
Good inspiration for: Creating light, image-based slides that still tell a story and get the message across.
Using Artificial Intelligence to prevent healthcare errors from occurring (2017)
25 page dense deck describing how AI/ML (machine learning) is changing industries, the possible use cases in healthcare, and what barriers exists/which key things need to be in place to enable an advanced analytics implementation.
Good inspiration for: Showing quantitative potentials for different use cases/levers and summarizing these in a visually clear way. Creating one-pagers on specific use cases.
Digital Luxury Experience 2017 (2017)
24-page support deck for an oral presentation going over three areas of change for the luxury industry, hosted by a luxury goods umbrella organization.
Good inspiration for: Using simple graphs and numbers to illustrate a point.
Capturing the data & advanced analytics opportunity in capital markets (2017)
15 page main deck + 9 page appendix describing how data and advanced analytics are affecting the capital markets infrastructure, as well as discussing potential opportunities.
Good inspiration for: Summarizing your credentials in proposals (see the appendix).
Technology’s role in mineral criticality (2017)
28 page deck first describing some overall technology trends and how they may impact the minerals industry including potential opportunities. Then going into productivity issues in mining and potential fixes, as well as a deep dive into two commodities. Presented at the World Materials Forum.
Good inspiration for: Presenting complex data on relatively simple slides and making the message visually clear.
The future energy landscape: Global trends and a closer look at the Netherlands (2017)
38 page graph-heavy deck describing the current energy landscape and three major trends expected to impact it going forward, as well as how it specifically applies to the Netherlands. Presentation to the Dutch financial sector.
Good inspiration for: Different ways of presenting numbers and graphs in clear, compelling visuals.
FinTech: How financial institutions in Europe (should) prepare for the future (2017)
21 page deck going over how digital trends are shaping financial services, the rise of ecosystems, and finally some ideas and a roadmap as to how financial institutions can play a role in the new ecosystems.
Good inspiration for: Creating a simple and coherent storyline with succinct recommendations.
European Banking Summit 2018 (2018)
10-page deck going over the status of European capital markets, particularly concerning the US. Mainly focused on current numbers, not a lot on the path forward.
Good inspiration for: Making classic consulting-style graph slides.
Current perspectives on Medical Affairs in Japan (2018)
20 page deck covering the current status and trends impacting Medical Affairs in Japan, as well as four priorities for leadership going forward.
Good inspiration for: Creating divider slides that also function as executive summaries.
Investment and Industrial Policy: A Perspective on the Future (2018)
16-page main deck + 7-page appendix describing the rise of globalization, its impact on economic growth, and recommendations for policy-makers. Fairly high-level, although with some good data slides. Presented as part of a panel discussion at the UNCTAD Trade And Development Board.
Good inspiration for: Creating visually clear data-heavy slides. Condensing a potentially long storyline into a few key slides.
Moving Laggards to Early Adopters (Maybe even innovators) (2018)
18 page word-heavy deck used in an oral presentation on the topic of digitalization in manufacturing. Covers the challenges of digital manufacturing, then goes over survey output from the industry, before ending with three recommendations for businesses.
Good inspiration for: Presenting verbal findings and recommendations in simple slides with icons.
The Future of the Finance Function –Experiences from the U.S. public sector (2019)
14 page deck used in an oral presentation for a government finance function conference. The deck goes over what challenges CFOs etc. face in the current environment and five ways to move from transaction to value management going forward.
Good inspiration for: Presenting different levels of maturity of a given function and supporting this with data.
Fab automation - Artificial Intelligence (date unknown)
17 page deck discussing the potential for AI in the semiconductor industry by first describing what AI is, then how it applies to fab, and finally what is required to unlock that potential.
Good inspiration for: Creating different types of slide designs that balance text and numbers to avoid a monotonous or boring storyline.
Context for Global Growth and Development (2014)
Sub-title: Extracts from McKinsey Global Institute research for UN Session on “Financing for global sustainable development”.
11-page deck focusing mainly on key findings from a longer research report put out by McKinsey Global Institute.
Good inspiration for: Creating different slide designs for graphs and numbers.
Perspectives on manufacturing, disruptive technologies, and Industry 4.0 (2014)
17-page slightly ad hoc deck with extracts of a longer report put out by the McKinsey Global Institute on manufacturing. Goes over why manufacturing is important, how the boundaries of industry and services are blurring, how digital manufacturing is growing, and finally where governments can support from a policy perspective.
Good inspiration for: Different slide designs and presenting data in a visually appealing and clear way.
From poverty to empowerment: India’s imperative for jobs, growth and effective basic services (2014)
13-page deck + 8-page appendix going over India’s poverty issues and potential change levers. Extract of a longer report put out by the McKinsey Global Institute.
Good inspiration for: Creating clear and compelling quantitative slides in different formats.
Attracting Responsible Mining Investment in Fragile and Conflict Affected Settings (2014)
8 page deck describing the development of resource-driven countries and six dimensions for governments to focus on to realize the full potential going forward. Extract from a longer report put out by the McKinsey Global Institute.
Good inspiration for: Creating a short and to-the-point storyline following the SCQA framework (situation-complication-question-answer), although the “Q” is implied.
A blueprint for addressing the global affordable housing challenge (2015)
49 page deck going into first what the affordable housing challenge looks like in numbers, followed by levers to narrow the affordability gap. The deck is a summation of a longer report put out by the McKinsey Global Institute.
Good inspiration for: Illustrating change levers and their quantitative impact, both collectively and separately.
US Productivity Growth: The Company And Sector Story (2015)
17-page deck showing the numbers and history behind US productivity, ending with a short discussion of what might catalyze future growth.
Good inspiration for: Presenting graphs, especially bubble graphs.
Jobs lost, jobs gained: Workforce transitions in a time of automation (2017)
16-page deck going over how automation and computers have historically affected jobs, and what potential impact it will have in the future. Summary of a longer report put out by the McKinsey Global Institute.
Good inspiration for: Creating data-heavy slides. Keeping the storyline simple and to-the-point.
Reinventing Construction: A Route To Higher Productivity (2017)
14-page deck describing the current state of construction, in particular productivity, before briefly going over seven potential improvement areas and how government intervention might help. Very high-level deck summarizing a longer report by the McKinsey Global Institute.
Good inspiration for: Using an agenda or divider slide actively to both summarize and outline the storyline.
Outperformers: High-growth emerging economies and the companies that propel them (2018)
16-page deck describing the main highlights of a research report by McKinsey Global Institute on high-growth emerging economies. The deck first goes over the data on how these economies are performing, followed by the proposed reasons why, and the outlook going forward.
Good inspiration for: Creating different graph-heavy slide designs.
How companies can capture the veteran opportunity (2012)
34-page main deck + 12 page appendix going into how employers can leverage veteran talent. The document is divided into three main sections; 1) what is the business case for hiring veterans, 2) what are the best practices are for finding, hiring, onboarding, and retaining veterans, 3) what resources are available to assist employers’ veteran recruiting efforts.
Good inspiration for: Systematically presenting an opportunity and how to best leverage that opportunity. Creating slides to show processes and decision trees.
The Five Frames – A Guide to Transformational Change (date unknown)
33-page deck discussing organizational “health” and diving into a five-step approach to transformation. The deck is structured as a kind of simple playbook to use when undertaking e.g. a digital transformation.
Good inspiration for: Directly applicable high-level playbook when embarking on a small or large transformation. Structuring a process.
A great consulting proposal requires the right content and structure. This post aims to teach you how to get both right.
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